In my last article here on Cardplayer Lifestyle, I went over 5 signs that indicate strength in your opponents. In this article, we’ll be covering the opposite: signs that indicate weakness.
Just as I mentioned before, no matter which games you play and learn, be they Spin and Gos, cash games, or MTT poker strategies, you have to build a solid game plan and use these tells just as additional info when making a decision.
Here, then are five of the most common signs indicating weakness in your opponent’s game.
1. Acting strong
This is a classic tell: acting strong means your opponent is actually weak while acting weak means he/she is actually strong. This is something you’ve probably heard before, but no list can exclude it, as it’s one of the most powerful tells in poker.
No matter how “old” this tell might be, even today people try to indicate strength while having weak hands. No one wants to give away the real strength of their hands, so it is unlikely to see a player having a huge hand trying to show this to his opponents by acting strongly. Instead, they try to hide it. Therefore, even now, when most players know this tell, it’s not something you can entirely hide. Thus, if your reads are correct, it’s still a very valid point to consider when making decisions.
2. A shaky voice
As I covered in my last article, people do not tend to talk while having poor holdings; they are not ready to do that. Therefore, if you ask such a player a question and he answers with a shaky voice, this will usually confirm that he feels uncomfortable and would much rather keep quiet.
A perfect example of this is when Phil Ivey almost made an exceptional hero call versus Tom Dwan’s bluff on an old episode of High Stakes Poker. His voice could be one of the factors indicating weakness there:
3. Freezing after making a bet
Just like in the previous point, freezing after making a bet almost always indicates that your opponent is uncomfortable. And when are people not comfortable? Mostly when they are afraid that you will call and win their chips.
In order to not give away the weakness of their holdings, players tend to hide such information by not doing anything, not moving, not blinking, and sometimes not even breathing (really!).
So, when you see someone freezing after making a bet, it should signal some weakness on his part, and you could conceivably call lighter or even consider running a bluff.
4. Staring at the board or hole cards
This is something you will often see. When your opponents seem to be staring at something for an extended period of time, they are not likely to have a strong hand. This is even more true when they stare at their hole cards or the board.
After seeing pocket aces, you automatically will try to hide it and put your cards down on the table. Therefore, it is extremely unlikely that your opponent would be staring at AA for long and thinking about the good times he will have after winning the pot.
The same goes for community cards. If you see someone looking at the board for longer than a couple of seconds, they are likely weak. If your opponent has something, he will try to hide it and look away pretending not to be interested in the pot.
Therefore, if you notice someone looking at the cards for longer than normal, it is a sure sign of weakness and you can take it to your advantage.
5. Thinking for a long time, then checking
When players think a lot and then check, they are often very weak. In most cases, they are considering whether or not to run a bluff or, alternatively, just deciding to give up on the hand.
Otherwise, they would act much more quickly because this is quite an easy decision. If they have a medium-strength hand, they do not have much to think about and are very likely to check quickly.
Therefore, if you see someone pretending to have a big decision and then checking after thinking for a while, you can be quite sure that it is a sign of weakness.
Summing it up
You now have five great tools at your disposal to help you gauge the strength of your opponents’ hands based on their behavior and reactions when playing live poker. Similarly, you can build effective strategies, learn to read your opponents and win when playing online poker as well. Even so, that journey starts by choosing one of the best poker sites to play on, so don’t miss that step.
Use all of the above information to your advantage, and you will surely gain an edge over your competitors.